Cornell, Ithaca College, hold teach-in for TCAT
Yesterday, Cornell’s organization for Labor Action, or COLA, and Ithaca College’s Labor Initiative in Promoting Solidarity, or LIPS, held a teach-in on the ongoing negation between TCAT (Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit) bus drivers and TCAT management. The TCAT drivers’ contract expired on September 11th. The Teach-in focused on collective bargaining and the history and future of the TCAT system. Students from both colleges want Cornell to contribute more money to TCAT and both groups claim that Cornell’s contribution is lower than it should be. As of right now, Cornell students collectively rode the TCAT 2.5 million times, and Cornell pays about 2.5 million dollars to the TCAT. At a dollar per ride, Cornell students pay less than the average TCAT fare. TCAT management, citing tough economic times, has already announced service reductions and fare increase proposals. And there is concern among many that workers’ wages and benefits will be cut. According to the website for UAW Local 2300, the union representing drivers, TCAT officials reported at a board meeting they were hoping “to see a 0% wage increase, a partial hiring freeze and cuts in health benefits.”
Students from both groups have been trying to influence TCAT management, and at the teach-in, Ithaca students from Labor Initiative in Promoting Solidarity spoke about their successful effort to raise the wages of Sodexo food service workers. UAW Local 2300 voted to reject a tentative offer from management in September.